Our Tech Buddies sessions, where learners can drop in and get help with their laptop, tablet or smartphone with the help of a friendly volunteer, have been growing in popularity over the last few months, which more and more learners getting online, connecting to the web and its many possibilities.
‘I started the class as a novice; I was not expecting to do most of the IT stuff but my tutor Gavin was very patient and kind, he showed me many things, internet shopping on Amazon, searching for useful information, downloading etc on tablets and smartphones which I have never used, I cannot thank him enough. Life is really easy and enjoyable, and very occupied with doing many things on the net to amuse my loneliness. The IT class is tops.’
From Nelissa, who Gavin helped set up a Youtube channel for her spoken word poetry (she now has several subscribers and some of her videos have 100-200 views), to Elizabeth, who was delighted with her first ever online purchase, made during a Tech Buddies session, it’s no exaggeration to say that attendees have been able to do things on the net which they never thought would be possible for them.
‘I have been attending classes for IT, a subject I was in total ignorance of. If it had not been for Abbey I would not have any computer skills, a new world has been opened for me and I am very grateful for that. If this facility was not available I would not get out of the house as much. The project leader Gavin is inspirational, patient and confidence-boosting and I am extremely grateful for his expertise in a subject I was in total ignorance of but now have confidence in the area.’
Others have skyped family and friends, discovered online music from back in the day, and accessed job opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have. The lady on the right is 93 years young – proving it’s never too late to get confident with your tech.
‘The IT class in the Abbey Community Centre run by Gavin is very friendly and inspirational. We have help throughout as opposed to going to the library. It has encouraged me to refresh my training in IT which I have not used in many years. I am therefore very grateful for that. A big thank you to Gavin and the Abbey Community Centre. God bless!’
As well as connecting to the web, attendees have also connected to each other, staying after the sessions to chat and enjoy the Abbey cafe (Saturday sessions take place from 10am – 12noon, the cafe is open 11am – 2pm). In particular, participants Elizabeth and Janet have become fast friends after making an amazing discovery…
Janet (left) was waiting to sign the register at the start of the session when she caught sight of Elizabeth’s name on the list. Her surname looked familiar, and after a chat the ladies realised they came from the SAME VILLAGE in Nigeria! Not only were they from the same place originally, they also discovered that their families were friends and Janet’s father-in-law had officiated Elizabeth’s naming ceremony in Lagos, back in the 1940s. They didn’t know each other at all prior to coming to the sessions, despite living in the same area of Kilburn for many years. It’s amazing to think that they reconnected after over seven decades. They are now making the most of Abbey Saturdays, going to the cafe and on Neighbours 2 Friends trips with Simone.
So why not come along to a Tech Buddies session soon? Though you might not end up physically bumping into someone from your distant past, we can certainly show you other ways to do this online; setting up email, skype and social media, searching family heritage sites. Or perhaps you’d like to learn to shop or bank online, upload photos, become a Microsoft Office whizz… our lovely volunteers can help you do all this and more.
‘I have learnt a lot since I joined the IT class and continue to grow in confidence… I find it very motivating, the staff are friendly, helpful, understanding and make everyone feel welcome every time… I look forward to attending every week.’
As well as the Saturday session, we hold IT drop-ins on Thursdays (11am-1pm) and Wednesdays (2-4pm everyone; 11am-1pm men only).